All the thrills, glamour and heroism of an agent's life (an estate agent, that is)

Share
Related Topics
I FEEL sorry for estate agents. For one thing, nobody has ever bothered to feature them in a major novel. But today all that is changed. Yes, today I bring you a major new work of fiction about an estate agent! Not only that, but it is an interactive novel. This means that you, the reader, have the power to change the course of the story by choosing the right option at various moments. Understand? Well, you will, as soon as you get into this complete novel about estate agents, entitled...

TOP OF THE MARKET

YOUR NAME is Hugo, and you are looking for a house in the country, preferably with 5,000 acres of gardens and grouse-shooting and preferably within ten minutes of central London. How do you set about looking for it?

a)You drop a note to Buckingham Palace saying you have heard that as so many Royals are on the move, there is now accommodation within the Palace coming on the market.

b)You buy Harrods and install a roof garden.

c)You go to a top estate agent's and consult an expert.

Of course! You go to a top estate agent's and the man who deals with you, Mr Batchelor, says he thinks he has just the thing. He takes you in his car and after an hour's drive you come to Lucknow Hall, a Georgian building set among some dark trees facing north...

"IT ISN'T exactly what I had in mind," said Hugo, looking at the ravens on the lawn and the small procession of death watch beetle heading up the main drive. "It's a little ... secluded."

"Secluded, yes," said Mr Batchelor. "Lonely, no. Private, yes. Remote, no. You will be amazed at the feeling of privacy combined with accessibility."

Hugo felt there was no answer to this. He did not realise yet that everything Mr Batchelor said was designed to be answer-proof, which is the sign of a really great estate agent.

"Is it really only ten minutes to Hyde Park Corner?" said Hugo.

"What kind of helicopter will you be using?" said Mr Batchelor, but before Hugo could answer, Mr Batchelor's mobile phone rang and he put it to his ear with an apology.

Who can possibly be ringing Mr Batchelor ?

a) It is Mr Batchelor's wife, saying she has found out about Mr Batchelor's mistress and his hidden love nest in Wimbledon.

b) It is Mr Batchelor's mistress in Wimbledon, saying the central heating is playing up again, and it's freezing cold in their love nest.

c) It is head office, reminding him he is due to see a Mr Chris Evans at midday.

Yes, thank goodness, it is only head office !

"SORRY about that," said Mr Batchelor, snapping his phone back into his pocket. "Head office getting their knickers in a twist, as usual. Now, let's have a look inside..."

Mr Batchelor brought a huge key-ring out of his pocket, tried every one, but still couldn't shift the lock of the front door. Hugo stepped forward and turned the handle. It opened easily.

"It's not locked," he said.

"That's strange," said Mr Batchelor, frowning. "Why on earth...?"

"Ssssh..." said Hugo. "I think I hear voices inside."

Silently the two men tiptoed through the supposedly empty house until they came to a room from which came the sound of lively conversation. Mr Batchelor threw open the door and the two of them stood there open- mouthed.

What had they seen ?

a) A TV set left behind by the previous owner, showing an old Edward G Robinson movie

b) A team from a rival estate agent's, showing a rival customer round

c) Salman Rushdie, sitting at a table with several police officers, playing cards.

Yes, Hugo and Mr Batchelor had stumbled across Salman Rushdie's secret hide-out, where he was still cowering from the gun of an Iranian assassin, not realising that nobody in Iran cares any longer about him. No sooner was the door open than the policemen all leapt to their feet, scattering their cards (including, in one case, sadly, a hand containing four aces) and aiming their guns at Hugo.

"FREEZE!" shouted one.

"Who are you ?" shouted another.

"I've come here with Mr Batchelor from the estate agent's..." began Hugo. He turned to point to Mr Batchelor. There was nobody there. Mr Batchelor had done a runner. "You see, I'm looking for somewhere within easy reach of central London..."

Seconds later his arm was forced up his back and there was a gun at his head.

"We're nowhere near central London," said a voice smelling of garlic in his ear. "Talk fast, or you die..."

Oops - I'm sorry - we seem to have run out of space. You're on your own now! Good luck! Hope you get out alive!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established managed services IT...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bahrainis on an anti-government protest in May  

Hussain Jawad's detainment and torture highlights Britain's shameless stance on Bahraini rights

Emanuel Stoakes
August 1923: Immigrants in a dining hall on Ellis Island, New York.  

This election demonises the weakest

Stefano Hatfield
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003